U.S. Central Command confirmed early Monday that two ballistic missiles targeted the USS Mason as it completed its response to a distress call in the Gulf of Aden.
Officials said the missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the USS Mason. The missiles came within 10 nautical miles from the ship, Central Command said.
The USS Mason and coalition counter-piracy task force ships responded to a distress call on Sunday from the M/V Central Park. The commercial vessel reported it was under attack.
The anti-piracy task force includes 19 member nations whose mission is to "deter, disrupt and suppress piracy and armed robbery at sea."
Crew members on the USS Mason arrived and demanded the release of the vessel. According to Central Command, five armed individuals attempted to flee on a small boat but were later captured. Officials said as it was completing its mission, the two missiles landed within miles of the USS Mason and the Central Park.
Everyone on board both ships were safe, Central Command said.
“Maritime domain security is essential to regional stability,” said Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, U.S. Central Command commander. “We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes.”
The USS Mason has a crew of 329.
Central Park is owned by Zodiac Maritime Ltd. and is chaired by Eyal Ofer, an Israel-born businessman.
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